Halloween is a favorite time for both kids and adults. With trick-or-treating, fall festivals, and pumpkin patches, there are plenty of fun activities for the whole family to do. A main part of the Halloween festivities involves pumpkins, of course, and there are more things to do with them than you may think!
- Carving Pumpkins
The number one thing most people associate with Halloween and pumpkins is carving them into jack-o-lanterns. Carving pumpkins is a Halloween tradition that most families love to do together. While the adults typically do the carving part, kids can join in on the fun by scooping the seeds out with their hands (I always loved this part as a child, and it turns out, my kids love it now, too!).
In addition to the traditional jack-o-lantern faces (think triangle eyes and a jagged smile), some designs have really evolved and become more detailed over the years. Now there are a plethora of stencils that can be used to make perfectly precise and intricate designs carved into them. The invention of these stencils has been a huge game-changer when it comes to jack-o-lanterns and the possibilities are endless!
- Painting & Decorating Pumpkins
Let’s be honest, carving pumpkins can be messy and a lot of work for the parents. If you’re like me and you’d prefer your kiddos to be more in charge of the creative process, painting pumpkins might be more your thing. While not all the pumpkins may become “masterpieces”, it’s important to let the kids have free rein on their works of art. Your kids will love seeing their creations displayed out on the porch during the fall season!
To ensure an easy clean-up, I recommend putting paper bags down on the table before you let your children go wild with the paints, or better yet, do the decorating outside!
An even less messy option than carving or painting pumpkins could be to use Halloween-themed stickers, especially if your kiddos are younger. To go one step further, parents could apply glue to the pumpkin, and kids can sprinkle different-colored glitter all over or stick on other items, such as sequins or even fall leaves.
- Pumpkin Bowling
A fun activity to do with pumpkins that you may not have thought of before is bowling! Set up any kind of “pins” you have at the house, such as empty plastic bottles, and let your kiddos take turns rolling a small pumpkin into them to see how many they can knockdown. My kids and I recently did this at a nearby pumpkin farm, and we all had a blast!
- Baking Pumpkin Seeds
Something we always did during Halloween in my childhood that we still do with my kids today is baking the pumpkin seeds. Baked pumpkin seeds are a delicious (and healthy!) snack that both kids and adults love.
We’ve always simply sprinkled the seeds with seasoning salt, but recently I’ve learned there are so many more yummy variations to try. You can toss the seeds in ranch or pizza seasonings, or I’m sure your kids will LOVE the cinnamon sugar version. Find these recipes and many more here.
A few tips for baking pumpkin seeds:
- After you scoop out the seeds and remove the “guts”, place the seeds in a bowl of warm water for five minutes. This will help separate the seeds from any remaining pumpkin gunk.
- Bake the seeds in a single layer at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes (mixing them up in the pan every 10 minutes).
- If the seeds are chewy when they come out of the oven, wait until they cool down to see if they crisp up. If not, pop them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
- Cooking with Pumpkins
If pumpkin seeds aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other delicious pumpkin-related recipes to try. Have your kids join in on the cooking process by stirring the ingredients or simply by pressing the button on the blender to make the pumpkin puree.
Skip the pie filling, and use a real pumpkin to make your pie this time. Find a great homemade pumpkin pie recipe here.
Your whole family will love pumpkin cookies and muffins and there are tons of recipes online. Remember, if a recipe calls for a can of pumpkin puree, you can always swap it out for a real pumpkin. This recipe claims to be the “best-ever pumpkin muffins”.
In addition to desserts, you can use fresh pumpkins to make savory soups, nachos, ravioli filling, and so much more. Find these amazing recipes and others here.
This Halloween season, mix it up a bit by trying something new instead of simply setting the pumpkins out on your porch. Decorate them differently, cook with them, or play some pumpkin bowling – your whole family will love the new traditions!